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Debate A Child Called It: Is it true or not?

66 fans picked:
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TRUE
   86%
FALSE
   14%
 sapherequeen posted over a year ago
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21 comments

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Aggie_Babee picked TRUE
Aggie_Babee picked TRUE:
It was a true story. Which always makes me want to vomit... I didn't make it through the whole thing.
posted over a year ago.
 
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sapherequeen picked TRUE
sapherequeen picked TRUE:
I have recently heard that the truthfulness of David Pelzer's biography "A Child Called It" is still being debated on. This interests me, so I thought I could add a fanpick on this topic to see others' opinions and thoughts.

I, personally, think that A Child Called It is true. My most significant reason is that I don't see any way that a man can tell falsify his life like that and tell such horrid lies about his mother, father, brothers, neighborhood, and his childhood overrall. Unless David Pelzer has a severe mental illness that was present with him since early childhood, I don't see how he could lie like that.

Another significant reason I have is the fact that other people from David Pelzer's past support his story. His young brother, Richard had not only supported Dave's novel, but admitted to taking part in the cruelty towards his brother and claimed that he too was horribly abused by Catherine Roerva (their mother) once Pelzer was rescued.

Well, this is my strong opinion on this topic.

EDIT: I'm sorry about my constant editing. I'm noticed a lot of small grammar mistakes that I really wanted and needed to correct.
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago
 
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Cinders picked FALSE
Cinders picked FALSE :
I can't say for sure, but I do lean towards false, basically because people do falsify these things all the time, and worse, like that couple last year that finally admitted their story about meeting on either side of the fense of a concentration camp was false.

There are several inconsistencies in Pelzer's novel that are rather curious. I think this review (by a pro-Peltzer fan), does a good job of pointing them out.

Also, this article is rather illuminating.

It's difficult to say for sure, of course. But the book does bother me because it comes across similar to sensationalized journalism-- IE, it feels like the sole intent of the writing was to whip up the community more than to tell the story as-is. I'm not trying to say that these things COULDN'T happen, or even that they DIDN'T happen, I'm just saying that considering the reaction the books got, and the book sales... It's interesting.

EDIT: To fix HTML code.
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago
 
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sapherequeen picked TRUE
sapherequeen picked TRUE:
Alright. After reading the articles Cinders has posted in her comment and seeing the points these authors made, I feel the need to point these things out;

When a child is severely abused as David was, this of course drastically effects about the child, including his mind and memories. Perhaps this younger brother who was named Russell (but was really Richard) was born when David was around the ages of eight or nine, and maybe younger then David had really said he was in the next following events the author included. But instead of this pointing out that the story isn't true, the reasons may be that David's mind was effected so much by the abuse, his memories may not be as accurate. My mother, who is a psychologist that covers the issue of child abuse and its effects, explained this to me one time.

Now, for the point the author made about the doctor.
I feel this has many explanations; the doctor may have examined Dave without Catherine Roerva's (his mother) presence and then shown his true concern there. Or while this doctor smiled and laughed with Roerva, Dave could see that the doctor was more suspicious then he seemed.

Now, I'm not trying to say that these are the true reasons behind these two points and I do understand that the author of the first article wasn't necessarily concluding that the events of David Pelzer's childhood never occurred. I just want to prove that there are reasonable explanations for these inaccuracies.

As for the second article...well, I didn't really read the whole thing. When I first began to read the second article, I noticed that the author had a few of his facts wrong. For example, the author stated that David's brothers never witnessed the abuse when in fact some of his brothers have. Richard himself admitted that he was there when Roerva stabbed David in the chest, and in the novel a couple of his brothers have walked in during routines of punishments (During the times that David was kept in a bathtub full of cold water for long periods of time his brothers would walk into the bathroom to either use the toilet or show their friends their "bad" brother in the nude).

Now, when I see an article that has mistakes like that, I immediately become skeptical of its point. I'm not trying to be judgmental or immediately dub the article as worthless, that's just...well, that's just what I do and how I feel.

Cinders, if you're reading this I hope you don't feel that I'm trying to argue with your opinion. I understand it and fully accept it, I just have a lot of arguments with the points these articles have.
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago
 
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Cinders picked FALSE
Cinders picked FALSE :
Later on in the article, he talks about having interviewed Stephen (Dave's younger brother-- older than Richard). I'll provide an excerpt here:

I spoke with one of Pelzer's younger brothers, Stephen, 40, who was stricken with Bell's palsy as a child and whose speech is slightly slurred. Stephen denies his mother abused David or burned him or forced him to eat dog feces. ''Please!'' he says. ''That never happened.'' As a witness to the stabbing incident, Stephen says: ''I saw mom cutting food when David grabbed her arm and got a small cut from the knife. There wasn't even any blood, yet he screamed, 'Mommy stabbed me!'''

Stephen says David wasn't ostracized from the family, but that ''he was very close to me and Robert,'' the oldest brother. ''We were 'The Three Musketeers.' But David had to be the center of attention. He was a hyper, spoiled brat.''

Pelzer's grandmother, Ruth Cole, 92, remembers him as a ''disruptive kid, only interested in himself, with big ideas of grandeur.'' She says he bragged that celebrities, like Chuck Yeager, would be at his and Patsy's wedding. ''But it was just a few family members in the garage,'' she says. ''His books should be in the fiction section.''

Stephen adds that he thinks his brother was taken away from the family because ''he started a fire and was caught shoplifting. He was out of control. Even the Air Force didn't want him.'' Stephen claims Dave was discharged on psychological grounds.

When Pelzer learned that Stephen said this, he refuted it by producing a form from the Department of Veterans Affairs saying he had received an honorable discharge. ''Everyone sees things differently,'' Pelzer says. ''Besides,'' he adds, in a claim that seemed to me to be completely untrue, ''Stephen is semiretarded.''



I recommend reading the entire article. It provides some insight into David's character that his books don't. The article doesn't talk about Richard, or his testimony, just about Dave, and the testimony of other family members.

I have one friend who was abused as a child by her father. She does talk about it, but not with the same revelry that Dave does. Her psychology is different than his, too. I know that everyone's effected differently by these things, and most of Dave's traits that he exhibts in public appearances and book signings DO strike me as a psychologically damaged individual-- but more of that of a manipulator than an abused child. Granted, my credentials don't go beyond a high school psych, and college developmental psych class, but that's what I've garnered from it.

Another quote from the article:

A close reading of Pelzer's books leaves other readers with the impression that they may not be entirely true. Pelzer has an exquisite recall of his abuse, but almost no recall of anything that would authenticate that abuse. His mother was of ''average size and appearance,'' he writes. ''I never could remember the color of her hair or eyes.'' Yet he recalls distinctly his childhood bruises: ''dark circles of purple bruises faded on top of fresh rings of blue bruises.'' He can't explain his mother's psychological motivation for abusing him but not abusing any of his four brothers, other than to say, ''She had not dealt with her unresolved issues.'' And of the six people who might have witnessed his abuse firsthand, Pelzer gives pseudonyms to the four who are still alive -- his brothers. (He refuses to give journalists their real names or phone numbers because, he says, ''I want to protect their privacy.'')

NOTE: Here he does acknowledge that the brothers might have witnessed the abuse.


As to testimonies of exaggeration:


Pelzer, still signing books, takes out a photo of his wife, an attractive redhead. ''Oh, she's a hard-nosed lady,'' he says. Then he adds: ''I wish this book was in a lot more hands. A psychiatrist said it was deep, like Norman Vincent Peale meets Clint Eastwood. It is the best tome I ever penned. It's being taught at Harvard and was a Pulitzer Prize nominee.''

Pelzer's hardcover publisher, Dutton, has no record of the book being taught at Harvard. As for the Pulitzer nomination, it is true that Dutton submitted two of Pelzer's books to the Pulitzer committee, though that doesn't qualify it as a Pulitzer ''nominee.'' The committee receives 800 unsolicited books a year and accepts them all without critical comment. Theoretically, the committee would accept Pelzer's grocery list as long as he filled out the proper forms and paid a $50 fee. These books are called ''entries or submissions.'' Only the final three, short-listed books can truly be called ''Pulitzer Prize nominees,'' and Pelzer's books have never made that list.



There are other points I want to bring to light, but I'll stop with those for now.

EDIT: Forgot part of the quote.
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago
 
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Cinders picked FALSE
Cinders picked FALSE :
Also, I'm loath to double post, but I found this quote on the Snopes Boards that really summed up my thoughts on Pelzer.

"The problem I have with Pelzer is that he has made his trauma his whole life. The one thing that all these fake survivors have in common is that they make their whole lives, their whole identity, into being a survivor. Real survivors generally don't do that. Even those that 'go public' will just publish the book and do the rounds of the chat shows and conferences, then move on and do something else with their lives. But the fakes turn themselves into practically the walking personification of their claimed trauma - endlessly talking about it, rehashing it, writing about it, speaking about it, lapping up the admiration and the hugs. Moreover, whatever the trauma, it was far worse for them than any other survivor.
Pelzer is an awful lot like that - he is making sure that he will forever be "The Boy Called It"."

EDIT: Spelling.
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago
 
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Angria picked TRUE
Angria picked TRUE:
I say for the most part it is true, yet it is always difficult to write about trauma/past experiences. Your mind erases some memories and exaggerates others according to how you interpreted and held onto certain situations. In that case, I will give him the benefit of the doubt behind his truthfulness. However, I agree with Cinders in that he has made this book and experience his entire life to the point that it more than likely is consuming him. It might have developed into some type of narcissistic persona.
posted over a year ago.
 
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jedigal1990 picked TRUE
jedigal1990 picked TRUE:
agree with angria nevertheless it is a really sad story that made me physically sick to my stomach when i had to read it in my freshman year of high school it was one of the hardest books i had to read but i do belive it is true which is very sad
posted over a year ago.
 
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heavenly13 picked TRUE
heavenly13 picked TRUE:
its written by the guy it happened too! that si not false!
posted over a year ago.
 
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never heard of it.....
posted over a year ago.
 
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zanesaaomgfan picked TRUE
zanesaaomgfan picked TRUE:
My class read it in class and everytime someone asked, my teacher would say "YES!"
posted over a year ago.
 
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Cinders picked FALSE
Cinders picked FALSE :
As a teacher, I feel comfortable in asserting that teachers do not know everything. Pelzer claims the book is true, which may be why she supported that claim. But if I were an MS/HS English teacher (a career I did consider), I would have encouraged discussion on this very topic, rather than discourage it.

Additionally, I see no educational merit for assigning this book to students other than to brutally startle them and interest them in reading in a very macabre way.
posted over a year ago.
 
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bri-marie said:
I think it's a little of both. I think Dave did, unfortunately, experience some of those cruelties at the hands of his mother, but I think he may have embellished on some of those "punishments" and lied about some others.

The only reason I can even possibly think of for this to be a required reading in school is to promote awareness and discussions about abuse. Beyond that, I really can't think of a reason to have this be read (of course, I could say that about any of the books I was forced to read in high school and middle school).
posted over a year ago.
 
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shadowluvr picked TRUE
shadowluvr picked TRUE:
i say it's true and one reason is because my friend's mother has started treating her badly. telling her to "get out of her life." a drastic change. her twin sister and older sister seem oblivious to the fact that she is in fact, highly suicidal because of her mother. she said that her mom called her "an ass... embarrassing" and for no reason, really. so i say it's true.
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago
 
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Chaann94 said:
IDC if it was completely true or not.
In my country we had the same shit with a book about a girl who was a victim of a loverboy. Some crimereporter kept harrassing her about it.

I believe that autobiography's have some side of fiction, but the moral in the novel is the most important point here. The point in "A Child Called It" is that abusive parents should be stopped. The point in "Real Men Don't Eat Cheese" is that loverboys are dangerous and that girls who are their victims should be helped.

Besides they probably wrote it as a sort of therapy to cope with it, to move on. Then who am I to bash the book and the author over its facts when the morality and the message is the most important thing?
posted over a year ago.
 
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blackpanther666 picked TRUE
blackpanther666 picked TRUE:
Well, this is interesting... I remember this book... I don't know if everything that happened to him was true or not, but I know that it was sickening to read.
posted over a year ago.
 
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RedRaven picked TRUE
RedRaven picked TRUE:
Very Sad.
posted over a year ago.
 
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daisy1960 said:
I believe this to be a true story I knew someone almost exactly like her.She tortured her son daily telling him no one would ever find him if she killed him her other children didn't receive hardly any abuse.For you non believers there are sick people out there who just don't give a shit about there kids. She also had sadistic sick ways she punished him like kneeling on a register vent for hours.Taking away everything from him including food. Beating him for anything and everything.And he still loved her his abuse made him make poor decisions now he is dead I tried to save him as a little boy no one listened she just lied to cys. I hope all the child a users rot in he--
posted over a year ago.
 
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AuntyLindy picked TRUE
AuntyLindy picked TRUE:
I've read these books a couple of times. I think it's true, although I suppose some details may be exaggerated. My only question is ... if it is not true, why didn't the mother ever come out and speak to defend herself??
posted over a year ago.
 
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ilovedogs1234 picked FALSE
ilovedogs1234 picked FALSE :
both of these books are real just wright a letter to him i believe in him
posted 10 months ago.
 
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bri-marie said:
...If you believe it's true, why did you pick the option that says it's not?
posted 10 months ago.